Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
[Hairy Woodpecker (see also Canadian Woodpecker,
and Audubon's Woodpecker).]
PICUS MARTINAE, Aud.
PLATE CCLX.--MALE and FEMALE.
This well-marked species, which has not hitherto been described or figured,
was procured in the neighbourhood of Toronto in Upper Canada, by a gentleman who
presented me with two specimens of it, a male and a female, but who has
requested me not to mention his name. I am informed by this close observer of
nature that its habits are as nearly as possible the same as those of the Hairy
Woodpecker, Picus villosus, and that its eggs, which rarely exceed six in
number, are pure white and translucent. In honouring this species with the name
of Miss MARIA MARTIN, I cannot refrain from intimating the respect, admiration,
and sincere friendship which I feel towards her, and stating that, independently
of her other accomplishments, and our mutual goodwill, I feel bound to make some
ornithological acknowledgment for the aid she has on several occasions afforded
me in embellishing my drawings of birds, by adding to them beautiful and correct
representations of plants and flowers.
MARIA'S WOODPECKER, Picus Martinae, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. P. 181.
Male, 9 2/12; wing, 4 (10 1/2)/12.
A pair found at Toronto, Upper Canada.
Bill about the length of the head, straight, strong, angular, compressed
toward the tip, which, however, is not truncate, but very slightly cuneate or
worn on the sides. With this exception it is very similar to that of Picus
villosus and P. canadensis. Upper mandible with the dorsal line almost
straight, being very slightly convex, the ridge very narrow, the sides sloping
and flat, or slightly concave, the lateral angle or ridge about half-way at its
commencement between the ridge and the margin, but in its course gradually
approximating the latter, and ending upon it about a fourth from the tip, edges
sharp, direct, overlapping, tip rather acute. Lower mandible with the angle
short and rather wide, the crural line a little concave, the dorsal ascending
and slightly convex, the ridge narrow, the sides convex, the edges sharp and
inclinate, the tip narrow. Nostrils oblong, basal, concealed by the feathers,
and placed near the margin.
Head large, ovate; neck rather short; body full. Feet very short; tarsus
short, compressed, feathered anteriorly about half-way down, with five large
scutella in the rest of its extent, scaly and sharp-edged behind; toes four;
first small and stout; fourth longest and directed backwards; second and third
toe united at the base; all scutellate above. Claws large, much curved,
compressed, laterally grooved, very acute.
Plumage very soft, full, and blended. A large tuft of reversed stiffish
feathers on each side of the base of the upper mandible, concealing the
nostrils; the feathers in the angle of the lower mandible also stiffish,
elongated and directed forwards. Wings rather long; the first quill very small,
being only an inch and five-twelfths long, the second half an inch shorter than
the third, which is half a twelfth shorter than the fourth, the latter being the
longest, and exceeding the fifth by two-twelfths; secondaries broadly rounded.
Tail of moderate length, cuneate, of twelve feathers, of which the lateral,
which are rounded and unworn, are only an inch and a twelfth long, the next,
also unworn, are one inch shorter than the middle, which are pointed but slit,
having the shaft broken off at a little distance from the tip, all the rest more
or less pointed, and either entire or slit.
Bill dusky. Iris brown. Feet bluish-grey. The upper parts are black,
spotted with white, the lower greyish-white. The tufts of bristly feathers over
the nostrils, and in the angle of the lower mandible, are dull yellow; the upper
part of the head is scarlet, the forehead and occiput are black; over each eye
is a band of white; a black band from the bill to the eye, continued behind it
over the auriculars, and joining the black of the hind neck; beneath this black
band is one of white, proceeding from the angle of the mouth and curving
backwards below the middle of the neck, so as almost to meet its fellow behind;
this band is succeeded by another of black, proceeding from the base of the
lower mandible, and continuous with the black of the shoulders. All the upper
parts may be described as black, tinged with brown behind; the feathers along
the middle of the back tipped with white, excepting on the rump; the
wing-coverts and quills spotted with the same, there being on the four longest
primaries seven spots on the outer, and four on the inner web, on most of the
secondaries five on each web, but on the outer quill only one patch on each web,
and on the second four spots on the outer and three on the inner web. The four
middle tail-feathers are glossy black, the next black on the inner web, and the
greater part of the outer toward the base, the rest black only at the base, the
two outermost being almost entirely white. The lower parts are white, tinged
with grey, and a little red; the sides faintly mottled with dusky grey; lower
wing-coverts white, with a dusky patch toward the edge of the wing.
Length to end of tail 9 2/12 inches; bill along the ridge 1, along the edge
of lower mandible 1 1/4; wing from flexure 4 (10 1/2)/12; tail 3 3/12; tarsus
10/12; first toe 3/12, its claw (2 1/2)/12; second toe 6/12, its claw
(5 1/2)/12; third toe (7 1/2)/12, its claw (6 1/4)/12; fourth toe (7 3/4)/12,
its claw 6/12.
The female, which is somewhat smaller, differs in external appearance only
in having the upper parts duller and tinged with brown, the lower more tinged
with grey, and the bright patch on the head of a yellowish-red tint and of much
This species is very nearly allied to Picus villosus, and is very similar
in its colours, but differs in having the mandibles pointed, in being larger, in
having the top of the head red or yellowish-red, and in having its fourth toe
longer than the third.